Saturday, December 04, 2010

Doggone Emergency

First, just a little clarification.  Sebastian, the dog who passed away on Thanksgiving, was not my little pooch.  Sebastian was one of two dogs, belonging to my friends.  I am parked on their property in my motorhome. We have a trade agreement (sounds fancy, doesn't it?)

Wolfman Harley, is my little puppy dog who weighs an astonishing 6.2 pounds now. He will be a year old on Christmas Day. He is well and alive, but sure gave me a serious fright Thursday.

Yesterday, my dog, Harley, came inside the motorhome after playing outside and seemed to be choking or ready to throw up his puppy chow.  I tried to figure out what was wrong with him.  I opened his mouth and tried to poke around looking for a foreign object or UFO but found nothing but a puppy tongue and tiny white teeth.

Next I  tried the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge what might be choking him. 
He still seemed distressed, pawing at his jaw, looking miserable and confused. I turned him tail over head and gently shook him upside down.  I set him back down.  He held up his paw and kept fussing with his face. He put that paw down, then lifted the other paw, and brushed his jaw again, but now on the other side. I tried to search his mouth and throat again, to no avail.

He was breathing, but freaking out, fussing with his jaw and looking pretty ill.  My friends had just returned home, so I ran over in a panic to find out where the nearest veterinarian was located. Turns out there was an Animal Hospital less than two miles away. 

I drove up there, rather distraught, but determined to try to save my little buddy's life.

I dashed in the door, carrying my doggy, set him down on the reception desk and announced "I think my puppy is choking on something and I can't find it!  I'm new in town and need a vet!"

The lady looked him over while saying "Well, he is breathing, so he's not choking."

I thought this is the part where they tell me I am crazy and nothing is wrong with my baby.  Go away, crazy person.

Another employee walked over, picked up Harley and said she would run him back to the doctor.

The receptionist  handed me a clipboard, paper and pen for me to  fill out the details for the tiny patient.  My hands shook as I tried to legibly fill in all the details. Before I was finished, the Doctor's assistant, came back out with my puppy and handed me a tiny stick, about the size of a toothpick. It was formerly stuck in his jaw rather firmly and the doctor had removed it. I don't know how or why I couldn't find that myself earlier.

The attendant also gleefully told me he weighed  6.2 pounds. I was very proud, as when I adopted Harley in late May, he weighed less than 5 pounds, had very thin lifeless fur, and his bones were readily felt when handling him.

I was thanking them profusely, when they suggested I wait with my puppy and see the Doctor.

In short order,  we were called back to see the Doctor. She gave Wolfman Harley a physical, while asking me loads of questions about him and his history.  She grilled me about his eating habits, and I explained he had come to me in really sad shape.  I described all the things I was doing to try to improve his health. 

She suggested he might have parasites and I said well no. I cleaned up after him on our doggy walks, and he had no evidence of that besides I had treated him myself with some herbs.   Suddenly we are discussing the fine subject of well, um, doggy poo.

How delightful.

She was deeply concerned about his weight and nutrition. I explained everything I was doing to try to improve his situation.

Then it dawned on me, she was seeing him bewildered and confused, not his usual 90 mile per hour break neck speed of racing around happily playing with his toys, trying to engage others into play or sneaking up with kissy face love or showing off, because he thinks he is the star of his own show.

Meanwhile she was doing uncomfortable things with his rear end, like checking his temperature and getting a sample for a parasite check. She went over his body, explaining he should not be so bony, then she groaned when she got to his rear legs.

She wanted to know if he limped any. "Goodness no!  This dog flies around the motorhome, leaping up on the bed, soaring across the seats as if he has wings.  Outside he happily romps around with his toys and my friends' dog(s) plus we go for several brisk walks each day.

Sadly she told me some frightening  news about his back legs and that his doggy equivalent of knee joints are deformed.  I explained he appeared to be double jointed and often flipped his legs out backwards towards his tail and flopped out on his belly in what I call his glamour pose.

I was sort of in shock, from the rapid events, taking in this new previously unknown information about his back legs was startling.

I thanked the vet profusely for quickly finding and removing  the stick that was causing him such trauma. I told her how he was my little lifesaver, because I needed to build up my stamina and we went walking everyday together since I adopted him. He brings me great joy, love and makes me laugh with his often comical antics.

I am one lucky mermaid to have my puppy alive and well. I thought it ironic that both my knees are problematic from previous separate injuries. What an odd thing to have in common with my hefty 6.2 pound canine kid.

Harley in his glamour pose.

Harley showing how he can reverse his rear legs and look really goofy, when he does so.

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  1. Dear Miss M,
    I have a hyper standard poodle (think a big Harley with a fancy hair do)and he's a very skinny guy. I was making myself crazy trying to figure out how to fatten him up. My current vet who's just great finally told me to stop worrying, he's just built skinny and so long as he has energy and his coat looks good there's nothing to worry about. My vet says a little too thin is alot better than too fat. Some vets like to make you worry, while others (like my current one) like to make you feel better. The one you saw sounds like the first kind.

  2. Oh, and I forgot to add that both of my boy dogs did that back leg splayed out frog-dog pose for the first year or so and they had no leg or knee problems at all.


Life is goof!